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If I were to ask you, “did you have sex last night?”, what would you think I was asking? Likely something along the lines of, “did you put your penis into her vagina and move around until you climaxed?”
In other words, you’d picture intercourse. But there’s a few problems with that.
If that’s all sex is, then she could be lying there making a grocery list in her head; she could be in emotional turmoil; or she could even be in physical pain, and it would still count as having sex.
Our definition of intercourse too often thinks of her experience as secondary.
Her enjoyment is a bonus, perhaps, but it’s not necessary to the main event. The guy is the main character, and she plays a supporting role.
Not just that, but if intercourse is all sex is, then you could be fantasizing about something else and just using her body, and it would also still count as having sex.
But that’s not the way the Bible talks about sex. Let’s look at just three pictures of sex that God gives us.
Sex is Intimate
First, a weird verse in Genesis 4:1: “And Adam knew his wife Eve, and they conceived a son…” It can sound like God was embarrassed of using the real word for sex. But if you look at the Hebrew behind that word, you’ll find something interesting. It’s the same root word that David used in the Psalms when he said, “Search me, God, and know my heart” (Psalm 139:23, emphasis added). It’s a deep knowing, a deep longing for connection.
Sex isn’t using someone to experience a physical high; it’s a spiritual connection.
Often when people want to make sex “hotter” they think of stretching the boundaries or trying new things in bed. But we found in our surveys of 23,000 people for our books The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex and The Great Sex Rescue that the key to satisfaction with your sex life is in emotional vulnerability.
Why is it make up sex is often so exciting?
It’s because during a conflict you’ve shared emotions and become vulnerable. That vulnerability is what feeds desire. When we become emotionally vulnerable by sharing our hearts, even without conflict, that makes sex hotter, too. Too often we want sex because it allows us to feel connected without having to do the work of connection. But when you do that work, sex is much more satisfying, because it’s intimate.
Sex is Pleasurable for Both
But it’s also about orgasm!
In Song of Songs, we read about two people that are seriously enjoying each other. And if you were to count up the words that she’s saying and the words that he’s saying, he’s more the supporting character, and she’s more the main one. She’s having a great time, too!
Unfortunately, many women can’t tell the same story.
In our surveys, we found an orgasm gap of 47 points. Roughly 95% of men almost always or always orgasm during a sexual encounter, but the equivalent number for women is only 48%. And most of the women who do orgasm cannot do so through intercourse alone. You see, intercourse is pretty much guaranteed to feel good for the one with the penis.
For the one with the vagina? Not so much.
This doesn’t mean that women are broken. God did not put the clitoris up the vagina, where it would get the maximum stimulation during intercourse. He put it on the outside, so that you would need to spend some time pleasing her. She’s not broken if her body doesn’t enjoy the same things that yours does or doesn’t reach orgasm as quickly as yours does. Sex is meant to be something where you take time to understand her body and serve her, since she needs way more attention than you do.
Sex is Mutual
Finally, 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 show us that sex is completely mutual. Everything he gets, she gets, and vice versa.
Pleasurable for both.
That’s what sex should be.
One last thing—if sex is going to be intimate, then it has to be a knowing, not an owing.
When a husband pressures his wife to have sex with him, or tells her that she’s obligated to, that has disastrous consequences for their marriage and their sex life. It means that she’s twice as likely to experience sexual pain. She’s less likely to orgasm. They’re more likely to feel the other doesn’t hear them during arguments.
Intimacy is eroded.
If she is obligated to give him sex, then her needs no longer matter. Sex isn’t about “knowing” her; it becomes about using her. And that will ultimately will kill her desire, and even your relationship.
Great sex starts with understanding that it’s more than just about chasing an orgasm.
It’s about experiencing something together. It’s not about wanting sex; it’s about wanting her. And when that’s the way sex is approached, it awakens desire in both of you, and becomes this passionate play that God intended for us.
And, if you find yourself struggling with how you approach these topics, pick up When Shame Gets Real and learn how to have these conversations in a healthy and productive way.